Rainworth were beaten 2-1 at Chasetown to leave them above second-bottom Kidsgrove on goal difference.
Chasetown, with just one defeat in their last 11 matches,started the game on the front foot and were showing just why their record under Marcus Law was so impressive.
In the 12th minute Nick Turton’s cross was headed out at the expense of a corner as the Rainworth goal came under sustained pressure.
Chasetown got the breakthrough in the 19th minute when Elliot Hodgett-Young’s cattempted clearance struck Danny Griffiths, who cut in on goal.
His shot looked to be well covered by keeper David Reay when it struck Dean Freeman and deflected into the opposite corner for the opening score.
Three minutes later it was 2-0 as the defence froze and Nathan Waite calmly placed the ball out of Reay’s reach.
Rainworth almost scored in the 25th minute when Chris Bettney seat up Whitehead, only for Bateman, at full stretch, relived to see it just pass the outside of the post.
The game looked over in the 26th minute when Tom Hannigan’s rash challenge on Griffiths resulted in a penalty. It was Griffiths himself who took it, but Reay saved brilliantly at full stretch down to his right.
Rainworth were having the odd success and after another good passing exchange Graham’s effort was just over.
Chasetown almost went further ahead as Griffiths cross-field ball found Turton, but his attempted lob went inches wide.
The half-time score of 2-0 reflected Chasetown’s superiority and Rainworth would need to improve if they wanted to get anything out of the game.
The opening minutes of the second half was all Rainworth as they strove to reduce the two goal deficit.
On 48 minutes Freeman hit a cross-field ball to Leon Osborne who found Darren Mansaram and his lay back was hit inches wide by Whitehead.
The pressure was relentless as Graham broke but he delayed the shot and the chance was lost. Minutes later Mansaram’s shot was well saved by Bateman as Rainworth continued to press.
Then just when it seemed Chasetown had weathered the storm in the 53rd minute from Freeman’s long throw, Graham was the first to react and his deft flick ended in the net.
Rainworth nearly gifted Chasetown a third when Hannigan’s poor clearance found Turton, but his weak effort was easily gathered by Reay.
The play was now end to end but Chasetown’s Francino Francis’s weak effort was easily collected by Reay.
Just as Chasetown were starting to get back into the game, a good Rainworth passing move somehow evaded Graham and was cleared.
Then in the 70th minute they thought they had scored, Graham’s initial shot was blocked and the follow up by Leon Osborne was somehow saved on the line by Bateman.
Then two chances in quick succession as Ryans’s effort lacked pace to trouble Bateman and then Graham’s effort goes just wide.
With Rainworth pushing forward Chasetown’s Turton caught them on the break but his effort was brilliantly blocked by Reay.
There was a moment of controversy in the 89th minute when Graham went down in the area under a last ditch challenge, but the referee waved play on.
There was still time for Osborne and Kuwesi Ofushine to have chances but both went wide.
The referee blew for full time in a game where both sides had periods of dominance. It had been Chasetown’s first half but Rainworth certainly had the better of the second.
The only difference in the end was that Chasetown had the better cutting edge in attack.
Rainworth still live in hope of avoiding one of the relegation spots and with displays like this and a little more composure in front of goal there is still time.
RAINWORTH: Reay; Hannigan; Hodgett-Young; Freeman; White; Bettney (Kelleher); Ofushine; Whitehouse; Graham; Mansaram (Ryan); Osborne Subs (not used): Williams; Bange; Brock.
Referee: Mr. L. Sinclair.
Man of the match: David Reay.